JACKSON, N.H. – The Michigan Tech Huskies Nordic ski teams competed in their first races of the NCAA Championships today. Sonja Hedblom and Carolyn Lucca represented the women's team in the 5K classic. The Tech men, Tomi Mikkonen, Gaspard Cuenot, and Tom Bye, raced in the 10K.
In a field of 39 racers, Gaspard Cuenot was the Huskies best finisher in 24th place with a time of 27:53.8, claiming seven points for the team. Teammate, Tomi Mikkonen took 27th finishing 27:58.3, adding four points to the total. Tom Bye, 37th (29:14.1). Martin Bergstrom of Utah University was first overall.
"Today was a very challenging day for the Huskies," said head coach Joe Haggenmiller. "I thought Gaspard and Tomi skied pretty tough and fought hard. I'm sure the group of five would like to see a better results sheet, but this is the NCAA Championships. There are the best of the best skiers here.Tomi and Gaspard scoring points is really a good start for us, with the top 30 skiers contributing to the points."
Sonja Hedblom and Carolyn Lucca are both first time racers at the NCAA Championships. Sonja Hedblom took 37th with a time of 17:12.0. Carolyn Lucca trailed behind Hedblom for 39th place finishing at 17:37.1. The University of Colorado's Petra Hyncicova's strong lead, topped the women's 5K for first place.
"Conditions were really challenging," Haggenmiller added. "It was snowing off and on and the extremely icy conditions underneath made the course that much more difficult. I think all in all we worked hard. We put in good effort today getting a start in the championships but now we have something to build on for Saturday. As a whole, we will look to come back Saturday with a stronger technique especially for Tom, Carolyn and Sonja."
As a team, the Huskies compiled a total of 11 points in the 5K classic and 10K classic.